Marketers seem to forget the main brand promise that drew people in, in the first place. We instead turn to doodads and shiny objects out of insecurity. We run tools to determine sentiment and share of voice. And then we go out into the world of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and try to attract and engage an audience that will talk to us, give us insight into what works and hopefully influence others to jump on the bandwagon.
But it seems that in the Wild Wild West of the social media landscape, so many marketers have lost their sense of purpose, particularly those just entering the arena. Too often you see pop culture posts or sweepstakes that shout out “See me, click here” but have absolutely nothing to do with the brand or their offering. And like a supernova, the marketing effort may attract a few, but quickly dies without any sustained community or ongoing engagement, leaving your audience growth to stagnate.
For this reason, your plan must include the basics. Yes, social media is a way to engage with your customers about many things, but the fundamental reason they are even interacting with you is your product and offerings. If those are not part of the conversation, you are missing the mark.
Here are three basic fundamentals that should be at the core of your social media program (especially new or young programs):
1. Surface Your Value Proposition
Give a new fan a reason to like your brand.
Make sure you are highlighting the “reason why” behind your main offerings regularly so that anyone new to the site can easily understand why they should care about you instead of all your competitors.
Don’t be fooled by all of the clever questions and trivia posts out there. That alone is not enough. You are still marketing and if you don’t let people know the benefit of your offering, you’re not getting the point across. Of course social media affords you the creative space to promote that offering encased in trivia, pop culture, breaking news and all of the rest, but make sure your value proposition is at the core.
2. Give Them a Reason to Return
While posts about people and companies who have successfully used your products and services are necessary to establish what you offer and why it’s relevant to the person coming to your social media platform, they need more than that to keep coming back.
This is where content regularity is king. There is a reason why restaurants offer the same ‘special’ on the same day of the week – people who like that special have at least one day per week they want to come back and will probably come in on other days too.
Similarly, in social media, if people know you post certain content regularly, they incorporate it into their routine. For example, you can curate lists that are relevant to your industry on the same day each week or ask your audience to upload photos or videos as part of a weekly content strategy. Making it fun, regular and relevant will create the stickiness that is required to attract engagement, which will in turn attract newcomers.
3. Create Evergreen Content
Evergreen content serves as a resource for people when they come looking for information. This also gives you an opportunity to establish your thought leadership. You know more about your brand and market than anyone else. Social media is the platform where you can shine.
The best evergreen content works in concert with a well organized blog, and a variety of rich media, drawing in video, photos, and long-form copy to attract different types of readers. Over time this creates a higher value for your target audience while helping your social media platforms gain traction on search engines. This way, social media serves to augment the information about your brand that is already out there. Combined with a strong SEO program, it helps with reputation management.
The digital marketing landscape has definitely changed dramatically in the last 5 years. When there’s a new frontier, people often throw the rules out the window. But brands still need to remember why customers engage with them in the first place. Social media offers an opportunity to do that on a more frequent, intimate basis. This is every marketer’s dream. Watch it closely and like my husband will tell you about his Porsche – treat it with care.
What About You?
Are you using these fundamentals in your social media program? Are you connecting with your customers on a regular basis about your real brand value? Tell us about your challenges and successes in the comments below.